If you follow me, you know I write a monthly blog and post it on the first of every month. This is my third blog since the pandemic began and my second one since we’ve been in “shelter in place”, at least here in Michigan. It’s surreal to think that we have been in this stance for over 70 days. In some ways it doesn’t seem possible that two+ months have passed already, yet on the other hand it feels like we have been like this “forever”. In the last couple of weeks, it seems like people have begun to regulate, learning to adapt and adjust to this new way of living. We are used to zoom meetings now (and starting to complain about them, like we did about our in-person meetings). We have become accustomed to donning masks and gloves if and when we leave the house. We monitor the COVID data and celebrate that flattening of the curve and the decrease in daily cases/deaths. And we are acknowledging the silver linings (see March 2020 blog); appreciating John Krasinski’s “SGN” vlog, virtual happy hours, more time to connect with family and friends and binge watching everything. Through all of the difficulties we’ve experienced in these last few months, we have proven our resilience.
Recently, I was asked to record a podcast with an organization with whom I have a contract. During our conversation on the podcast I was asked what I hope comes from all of this. I told them the word I keep using is “Reset”. (I even asked my son, who is a musician, to write a song called “Reset”. He is working on it. I heard his lyrics and cannot wait to hear it once it’s completed).
We are all well aware that life before COVID, was harried and had been for some time. Stressors were increasing, mental health and wellness decreasing. People were buckling under the pressure of expectations and demands. Struggling to keep up was the name of the game. “Busy” was the given answer when inquiring about how someone was doing or how things were going. I felt it, noticed it, disliked it, and thus began Living S.L.O.W..
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I choose to believe that good comes from bad. I am the type of person who looks for “the lesson”. Why is this happening? What is to be gained from this experience? I have fought to hold to that belief even during this time. Fighting to see the good and looking for ways to use this time to continue to evolve into a better version of myself.
As many states begin to re-open, signaling our emergence back out into the world, my hope is that this is an opportunity for all of us to reset. Take this moment in time to realign and re-establish our priorities. Ideally, we would reset globally, politically, nationally. I would be thrilled if there was a reset academically. As we moved to online learning, did you notice the shift to just focus on the basics? Checking in with every student, making sure they were safe and secure. Did they need food or emotional support? That became our emphasis. Permission to lighten the academic expectations, including no achievement tests and modified AP tests was allowed. We started to pay attention to the humanity of students, their families, and educators. How can we carry this forward in the coming months?
I’m not so sure my grandiose wishes for a complete overhaul of our established systems will be realized, but if nothing else, perhaps we can reset personally. That’s always a great place to begin. What are things you have been doing now that you would like to continue? Have you taken more time to get outside? Taken more walks? Become more physically active? Spent more time with family? Reached out to friends more often and in innovative ways? Developed new hobbies? Read more? Found creative outlets? Become more patient and tolerant while waiting in long check-out lines? Acknowledged people normally taken for granted (cashiers, nurses, teachers, mail-carriers)?
Just like iron is refined with fire, so is our human nature. When push comes to shove, many of us rally. We come together, make adjustments, rise to the occasion, and come out on the other side stronger and better. Let’s commit to using this time, however long it lasts, to establish and maintain the good that has been produced. It is time for a reset!
(last minute addition: in light of the recent events this underscores the need for a reset)